Thursday, May 07, 2015

Bella’s Gift – by Rick and Karen Santorum – A Challenge and Treasure



A few years ago, I heard Rick and Karen Santorum on Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk radio show as they shared about their daughter Bella.  I was also familiar with Rick from his 2012 Presidential bid and appreciated his conservative pro-life values.  That’s why I was eager for the chance to read their new book Bella’s Gift.

I really liked Bella’s Gift and highly recommend it.  This is a challenging book to read because you may find yourself evaluating what it means to be pro-life.  Especially, when you read about the ongoing fight the Santorum family had to endure to have their precious daughter Bella treated when she got sick and the ongoing care she had to receive at home on a daily basis.   

I was very angry at what I read about the medical establishment, doctors and nurses, who refused to give Bella basic treatment that they would have given to any “normal child” who was sick.  But when it came to Bella, who has physical and mental disabilities as a result of Trisomy 18, she didn’t qualify in their minds for treatment.  It was shocking to hear them say that Bella’s condition was incompatible with life.  When treated properly Bella had a fighting chance of improving from her immediate sickness.  

I was heartened to read of the exceptional care that Bella received at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.  A place where the doctors and nurses called Bella by name and chose to come alongside the Santorum family to fight for her life.  What a haven CHOP is for families with sick children. 

I know the Santorum’s didn’t write this book seeking adulates for all they’ve done for their daughter Bella.  They are the first ones to tell you that their entire family has been blessed by Bella far more than any sacrifice they’ve made for their daughter.  It’s through Bella they have learned what pure and true love is.  They’ve seen a picture of what absolute dependence upon our heavenly Father looks like. 

I appreciated Rick and Karen’s openness and transparency about their inner struggles, individually and as a couple, as they fought daily for Bella to live.  They shared how their faith was the driving force in their fight for Bella and how it upheld and sustained them in the very dark valleys they walked through.

Bella’s Gift will get you thinking.  Would I have the wherewithal to do what the Santorum’s did to help save their little girl?  Has the pro-abortion and right to die culture in our nation made it much easier do away with helpless disabled children?  Either killing them outright in the womb or refusing treatment once they are born?  After all, our culture doesn’t bat an eye when it comes to extinguishing the life of an innocent healthy pre-born baby when it’s not convenient for the parents.  Is a human being any less human or less valuable because they are disabled mentally or physically?  If I had a child who would be totally dependent upon me and require fulltime care, how would I respond?  

I wanted Rick and Karen to give the names of the doctors, nurses and hospitals who didn’t want to treat Bella.  But at the end of the book I found out why they handled those people with grace.  It’s through their faith and because of the grace God has shown to them through Jesus Christ that they chose to forgive the doctors and nurses and pray for them.  Love covers a multitude of sins. 

I highly recommend Bella’s Gift by Rick and Karen Santorum.  It will challenge you, help you grow in your faith and encourage you. 

I would like to thank the people at BookLook and Thomas Nelson Publishers for the opportunity to read Bella’s Gift in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

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